What do the following classic movies have in common?

The answer is: the venerable veteran actor Ward Bond.

Born in 1905 in Denver, Colorado (disputed by some), Wardell Bond had planned on becoming a football star. He attended the University of Southern California, and just happened to become friends with a fellow football standout named John Wayne. John convinced Ward to get some extra cash by becoming an extra on movies, which were becoming a huge industry in the 1920's. As was common in those days, luck and timing brought another standout actor to the attention of Hollywood's big and famous.

Ward picked up many screen extra roles because of his height (6'3", as compared to John Wayne's 6' 5") and his build. He played many crooks, cops, cowpokes and guards in his early years. When John Wayne made it big with his movie Stagecoach, he began to have a say in some of the hiring and firing of extras and actors. He immediately called upon Ward, and they appeared together in a huge volume of The Duke's movies.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ward took on other roles, and in 1929 was 'discovered' by the legendary director John Ford, who gave him the chance to become a supporting actor in the movie Salute. They hit it off, and Ward added another John to his cadre of best friends. When Ward, John Wayne and John Ford finally got together, real Hollywood magic appeared on the silver screen. The trio made many memorable and standout movies, and they can arguably be considered one of Hollywood's best combinations. If John Ford and John Wayne made a movie, there was almost a guarantee that Ward would appear somewhere in the credits.

John Wayne was a notorious practical joker, and Ward was a favourite target. Ward did get the last laugh, however. On a hunting trip, John Wayne accidently shot Ward with a shotgun. Ward left that shotgun to John in his will. Ward also enjoyed a good laugh, and he appeared in John Ford's The Wings of Eagles as John Dodge, a play on words as an homage to the director. He appeared in his final picture Alias Jesse James in 1959 as his character on Wagon Train, his final acting gig. Not to be outdone, John Ford himself would include at least one scene per picture in which the camera would shoot Bond's rather sizable posterior as an "inside" joke which delighted everyone on the set but Bond.

Unlike his screen roles, Ward tended to be arrogant and vocal. During the McCarthy era, Ward was one of the most vocal anti-communist crusaders, and he eventually led the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals as president. Many accused people hated Ward, since the accusation was almost a conviction in his book. He refused to work with accused communists, even if they were exonerated. When he and John were in college, they used to enjoy going out to bars, getting drunk and getting into fisticuffs with other drunks. In real life, you either loved him or you hated him, there was no middle ground.

Ward suffered from epilepsy, known only by his close friends. The studios kept this hushed up until long after Ward's death, just as they did with funnyman Bud Abbott of Abbott and Costello. This condition did not impact him much in his career. When Ward's film career was on the upswing, he met and married Doris Childs, who divorced him in 1944. He was remarried in 1954 to a strong woman named Mary May, who was widowed with Ward's death.

When life in the movies started to become a strain, Ward turned to acting on television. He played Major Seth Adams in a little show called Wagon Train, which was wildly popular. Gene Roddenbury pitched a silly sci-fi series called Star Trek as "Wagon Train to the stars." Most people who knew the name Ward Bond knew him through this series. His tough mannerisms and gravelly voice were a natural match for a range-worn cowboy. Unlike most, Ward died at the pinnacle of his fame.

Throughout his life, Ward remained an avid football fan. He died of a massive heart attack in his hotel room while in Dallas for a game in 1960. He was supposed to meet singer Johnny Horton later that day to ink a deal to appear on Wagon Train - Johnny died in an accident with a drunk driver at 1:30 a.m. while Ward died at noon in his hotel shower.

Ward Bond was an exceptionally prolific actor. His impressive list of movies are listed below. Note that landmark, special or personal favourites are listed in bold text.

  1. Alias Jesse James (1959) (uncredited) - Maj. Seth Adams
  2. Rio Bravo (1959) - Pat Wheeler
  3. China Doll (1958) - Father Cairns
  4. "Wagon Train" (1957-61) TV Series - Maj. Seth Adams
  5. Halliday Brand, The (1957) - Big Dan Halliday
  6. Wings of Eagles, The (1957) - John Dodge
  7. Pillars of the Sky (1956) - Dr. Joseph Holden
  8. Dakota Incident (1956) - Sen. Blakely
  9. Searchers, The (1956) - Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton
  10. Man Alone, A (1955) - Sheriff Gil Corrigan
  11. Mister Roberts (1955) - Chief Petty Ofcr. Dowdy
  12. Long Gray Line, The (1955) - Capt. Herman J. Kohler
  13. Bob Mathias Story, The (1954) - Coach Jackson
  14. Johnny Guitar (1954) - John McIvers
  15. Hondo (1953) - Buffalo Baker, Army Indian Scout
  16. Blowing Wild (1953) - Dutch Peterson
  17. Moonlighter, The (1953) - Cole
  18. Gypsy Colt (1953) - Frank MacWade
  19. Thunderbirds (1952) - Lt. John McCreery
  20. Hellgate (1952) - Lt. Tod Voorhees
  21. Quiet Man, The (1952) - Father Peter Lonergan, Narrator
  22. On Dangerous Ground (1952) - Walter Brent
  23. Only the Valiant (1951) - Cpl. Timothy Gilchrist
  24. Great Missouri Raid, The (1951) - Maj. Trowbridge
  25. Operation Pacific (1951) - Cmdr. John T. 'Pop' Perry
  26. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) - Insp. Charles Weber
  27. Wagon Master (1950) - Elder Wiggs
  28. Riding High (1950) - Lee
  29. Singing Guns (1950) - Sherif Jim Caradoc
  30. 3 Godfathers (1948) - Perley 'Buck' Sweet
  31. Joan of Arc (1948) - La Hire
  32. Tap Roots (1948) - Hoab Dabney
  33. Time of Your Life, The (1948) - McCarthy (a blatherskite)
  34. Fort Apache (1948) - Sgt. Maj. Michael O'Rourke
  35. Fugitive, The (1947) - El Gringo
  36. Unconquered (1947) - John Fraser
  37. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Officer Bert
  38. My Darling Clementine (1946) - Morgan Earp
  39. Canyon Passage (1946) - Honey Bragg
  40. Dakota (1945) - Jim Bender
  41. They Were Expendable (1945) - Boats
  42. Tall in the Saddle (1944) - 'Judge' Garvey
  43. Home in Indiana (1944) - Jed Bruce
  44. Sullivans, The (1944) - Lieutenant
  45. Guy Named Joe, A (1943) - Col. Al Yackey
  46. They Came to Blow Up America (1943) - Mr. Craig
  47. Slightly Dangerous (1943) - Jimmy
  48. Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943) - Sharkey
  49. Gentleman Jim (1942) - John L. Sullivan
  50. Hitler--Dead or Alive (1942) - Steve Maschick
  51. Sin Town (1942) - Rock Delaney
  52. Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942) - Sgt. Scully
  53. Falcon Takes Over, The (1942) - Moose Malloy
  54. In This Our Life (1942) - Cameo appearance
  55. Wild Bill Hickok Rides (1942) - Sheriff Edmunds
  56. Swamp Water (1941) - Tim Dorson
  57. Maltese Falcon, The (1941) - Det. Tom Polhaus
  58. Doctors Don't Tell (1941) - Barney Millen
  59. Manpower (1941) - Eddie Adams
  60. Shepherd of the Hills, The (1941) - Wash Gibbs
  61. Sergeant York (1941) - Ike Botkin
  62. Man Betrayed, A (1941) - Floyd, Amato's Goon
  63. Tobacco Road (1941) - Lov Bensey
  64. Santa Fe Trail (1940) - Townley (abolitionist)
  65. Long Voyage Home, The (1940) - Yank
  66. Kit Carson (1940) - Ape
  67. Sailor's Lady (1940) - Shore Patrolman
  68. Mortal Storm, The (1940) - Franz (Patrol)
  69. Buck Benny Rides Again (1940) - Outlaw #1
  70. Virginia City (1940) (uncredited) - Confederate sergeant checking passengers
  71. Grapes of Wrath, The (1940) - Friendly policeman
  72. Little Old New York (1940) - Regan, Shipyard Owner
  73. Mexican Spitfire (1940) (uncredited)
  74. Cisco Kid and the Lady, The (1939) - Walton
  75. Gone with the Wind (1939) - Tom (Yankee captain)
  76. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) - Adam Hartman
  77. Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939) - Hunk
  78. Dust Be My Destiny (1939) (uncredited) - Thug
  79. Frontier Marshal (1939) - Town Marshal
  80. Waterfront (1939) - Mart Hendler
  81. Girl from Mexico, The (1939) - Mexican Pete, the Wrestler
  82. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) - John Palmer Cass
  83. Kid From Kokomo, The (1939) - Ladislaw Klewicki
  84. Return of the Cisco Kid (1939) - Accused rustler
  85. Union Pacific (1939) (uncredited) - Tracklayer
  86. Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) (uncredited) - American Legionnaire
  87. Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939) - Sailor Sam (wrestler)
  88. Dodge City (1939) - Bud Taylor
  89. Trouble in Sundown (1939) - Dusty
  90. Oklahoma Kid, The (1939) - Wes Handley
  91. Pardon Our Nerve (1939) - Kid Ramsey
  92. Made for Each Other (1939) (uncredited) - Jim (pilot)
  93. They Made Me a Criminal (1939) - Lenihan
  94. Son of Frankenstein (1939) (uncredited) - Gendarme at gate
  95. Going Places (1938) (uncredited) - Clarence, a Policeman
  96. Submarine Patrol (1938) - Seaman Olaf Swanson
  97. Law West of Tombstone (1938) - Mulligan P. Martinez
  98. Fugitives for a Night (1938) (uncredited) - Gambler in Fake Fight
  99. You Can't Take It with You (1938) (uncredited) - Mike, the Detective, OSCAR-BEST PICTURE-1938
  100. Prison Break (1938) - Big Red Kincaid
  101. Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The (1938) - Tug
  102. Professor Beware (1938) (uncredited) - Motorcycle cop
  103. Reformatory (1938) - Mac Grady
  104. Numbered Woman (1938)
  105. Gun Law (1938) - Pecos
  106. Flight Into Nowhere (1938)
  107. Adventures of Marco Polo, The (1938) (uncredited) - Mongol Guard
  108. Over the Wall (1938) - Eddie Edwards
  109. Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938) - Big Moran
  110. Hawaii Calls (1938) - Muller
  111. Bringing Up Baby (1938) (uncredited) - Cop
  112. Born to Be Wild (1938) - Bill Purvis
  113. Kid Comes Back, The (1938) (uncredited) - Spike, Sparring Partner
  114. Of Human Hearts (1938) (uncredited) - Lout Laughing in Church
  115. Penitentiary (1938/I) (uncredited) - Prison Barber
  116. Mountain Music (1937) (uncredited) - G-Man
  117. Fight for Your Lady (1937) (uncredited) - Walton, wrestler
  118. Westland Case, The (1937) (uncredited) - Connors, death row inmate
  119. Music for Madame (1937) - Henchman
  120. Game That Kills, The (1937)
  121. Souls at Sea (1937) (uncredited)
  122. Escape by Night (1937) - Spudsy
  123. Dead End (1937) - Doorman
  124. Topper (1937) (uncredited) - Taxi Cab driver
  125. Marry the Girl (1937) (uncredited) - First Motorcycle Policeman
  126. Singing Marine, The (1937) (uncredited) - First Sergeant
  127. Fight to the Finish, A (1937) - Eddie Hawkins
  128. Wildcatter, The (1937) - Johnson
  129. Go Getter, The (1937) (scenes deleted) - Logger
  130. They Gave Him a Gun (1937) (uncredited) - MP
  131. Night Key (1937) - Fingers
  132. Soldier and the Lady, The (1937) (uncredited) - First Tartar Chief
  133. 23 1/2 Hours Leave (1937) - Top Sgt. Burke
  134. Park Avenue Logger (1937) - Paul Sanger
  135. When's Your Birthday? (1937) - Detective
  136. You Only Live Once (1937) (uncredited) - Guard
  137. Devil's Playground, The (1937) - Sidecar Wilson
  138. Woman-Wise (1937) (uncredited) - Kramer
  139. Case Against Mrs. Ames, The (1936) (uncredited) - Newspaper Buyer
  140. Conflict (1936) - Gus Carrigan
  141. Accusing Finger, The (1936) (uncredited) - Prison Guard
  142. Legion of Terror (1936) - Don Foster
  143. Without Orders (1936) - Tim Casey
  144. Big Game, The (1936) (uncredited) - Gambler
  145. Man Who Lived Twice, The (1936) - John 'Gloves' Baker
  146. They Met in a Taxi (1936) (uncredited) - Policeman
  147. Gorgeous Hussy, The (1936) (uncredited) - Officer
  148. Second Wife (1936) (uncredited) - Politician
  149. Crash Donovan (1936) - The Drill Master
  150. High Tension (1936) (uncredited)
  151. White Fang (1936) (uncredited) - Thief
  152. Bride Walks Out, The (1936) (uncredited) - Taxi Driver
  153. Fury (1936) (scenes deleted) - Objector
  154. Cattle Thief, The (1936) - Ranse Willard
  155. Fatal Lady (1936) (uncredited) - Cab Driver
  156. Avenging Waters (1936) - Marve Slater
  157. Pride of the Marines (1936) - Gunner Brady
  158. First Baby, The (1936) (uncredited)
  159. Colleen (1936) (uncredited) - Sweeney the Cop
  160. Boulder Dam (1936) (uncredited) - Pa's Guest
  161. Leathernecks Have Landed, The (1936) - Tex
  162. Muss 'em Up (1936) - 'John Doe,' a Gangster
  163. Two in the Dark (1936) (uncredited) - Cop in park
  164. Hitch Hike Lady (1935) - Motorcycle Officer
  165. We're Only Human (1935) (uncredited) - Bank Robber
  166. Too Tough to Kill (1935) - Danny (dynamite foreman)
  167. Broadway Hostess (1935) (uncredited) - Lucky's Henchman
  168. Guard That Girl (1935) - Budge Edwards
  169. Western Courage (1935) - Lacrosse
  170. Waterfront Lady (1935) - Jess
  171. Last Days of Pompeii, The (1935) (uncredited) - Murmix (a gladiator)
  172. His Night Out (1935) - Lanky
  173. Three Kids and a Queen (1935)
  174. Little Big Shot (1935) - Kell's Henchman
  175. She Gets Her Man (1935) - Chick
  176. Calm Yourself (1935)
  177. Murder in the Fleet (1935) (uncredited) - 'Heavy' Johnson
  178. Justice of the Range (1935) - Bob Brennan
  179. Headline Woman, The (1935) - Johnson
  180. Mary Jane's Pa (1935) (uncredited) - Roughneck
  181. Informer, The (1935) (uncredited) - Man
  182. Go Into Your Dance (1935) (uncredited) - Herman Lahey, Nellie's Husband
  183. Fighting Shadows (1935) - Brad Harrison
  184. 'G' Men (1935) (uncredited) - Gunman at Train Station
  185. Strangers All (1935) (uncredited) - A.D. on Film Set
  186. Black Fury (1935) - Mac
  187. Times Square Lady (1935) (uncredited) - Dugan, Hockey Player
  188. One New York Night (1935)
  189. Crimson Trail, The (1935) - Luke Long
  190. Devil Dogs of the Air (1935) - Senior Instructor
  191. Under Pressure (1935) - Prize Fighter
  192. Grand Old Girl (1935) (uncredited) - Mr. Clark, Football Coach
  193. Most Precious Thing, The (1934)
  194. Broadway Bill (1934) (uncredited) - Morgan's henchman
  195. Men of the Night (1934) - Det. John Connors
  196. Kid Millions (1934) (uncredited) - Bit Part
  197. Against the Law (1934) - Tony Rizzo
  198. 6 Day Bike Rider (1934) (uncredited) - First Officer
  199. Death on the Diamond (1934) (uncredited) - Police Guard
  200. Girl in Danger (1934)
  201. Human Side, The (1934) - Cop
  202. Chained (1934) (uncredited) - Ship Steward
  203. Defense Rests, The (1934) - Good
  204. Here Comes the Groom (1934) - Second Cop
  205. Man's Game, A (1934) - Dave
  206. Circus Clown (1934) (uncredited) - Unimpressed Man in Audience
  207. Most Precious Thing in Life, The (1934) - Head Coach Smith
  208. Affairs of Cellini, The (1934) (uncredited) - Guard
  209. I'll Tell the World (1934)
  210. Crime of Helen Stanley (1934) - Jack Baker
  211. Whirlpool (1934) - Farley
  212. Voice in the Night (1934) - Bob
  213. Fighting Ranger, The (1934) - Dave, Cougar Henchman
  214. Poor Rich, The (1934) - Motor Cop
  215. It Happened One Night (1934) (uncredited) - Bus driver #1
  216. Speed Wings (1934)
  217. School for Romance (1934) - Husband
  218. Frontier Marshal (1934) - Ben Murchison
  219. Fighting Code, The (1933) - Lou Krull
  220. Son of a Sailor (1933) (uncredited)
  221. Straightaway (1933)
  222. College Coach (1933) (uncredited) - Assistant Coach
  223. Police Car 17 (1933) - Bumps O'Neill
  224. Wild Boys of the Road (1933) (uncredited) - Red, the Raping Brakeman
  225. Lady for a Day (1933) (uncredited) - Mounted Policeman
  226. Wrecker, The (1933) - Cramer
  227. Heroes for Sale (1933) (uncredited) - Red
  228. When Strangers Marry (1933) - Billy McGuire
  229. Unknown Valley (1933) - Elder Snead
  230. State Trooper (1933)
  231. Obey the Law (1933) - Kid Paris
  232. Lucky Devils (1933) (uncredited)
  233. Sundown Rider, The (1932) - Gabe Powers
  234. Flesh (1932) (uncredited) - Muscles Manning
  235. Airmail (1932) (uncredited) - Joe Barnes
  236. Virtue (1932) - Frank
  237. Rackety Rax (1932) - Brick Gilligan
  238. White Eagle (1932) - Bart
  239. Hold 'Em Jail (1932) (uncredited)
  240. Hello Trouble (1932) - Heavy Kennedy
  241. Trial of Vivienne Ware, The (1932) (uncredited) - Johnson
  242. Careless Lady (1932) (uncredited)
  243. High Speed (1932) - Ham
  244. Greeks Had a Word for Them, The (1932) (uncredited) - Taxi Driver
  245. Maker of Men (1931) (uncredited) - Pat
  246. Arrowsmith (1931) (uncredited)
  247. Over the Hill (1931) (uncredited) - Bit
  248. Sob Sister (1931) (uncredited)
  249. Spider, The (1931) (uncredited)
  250. Three Girls Lost (1931) (uncredited)
  251. Quick Millions (1931) - Cop in montage
  252. Connecticut Yankee, A (1931) (uncredited) - Queen's Knight
  253. Big Trail, The (1930) (uncredited) - Sid Bascom
  254. Doorway to Hell, The (1930) (uncredited) - Policeman
  255. Up the River (1930) (uncredited) - Baseball playing convict
  256. Born Reckless (1930) - Soldier
  257. Lone Star Ranger, The (1930) (uncredited)
  258. So This Is College (1929) (uncredited) - USC Player
  259. Salute (1929) - Midshipman Harold
  260. Words and Music (1929) (uncredited) - Bit part

References:
The Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com
Leonard Malton's Movie Encyclopedia, Putnam Books
Yahoo Movies, http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc&id=1800011238&cf=biog&intl=us
kthejoker for the Oscar references of 1938

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